People are still confused by the hashtag.... and probably always will! Here's my guide on how to use them best!
Hashtags categorize topics and events. They're clickable links to join a global conversation. Hashtags started on Twitter but have spread to nearly all of the social platforms. I think of them as social media breadcrumbs—leading all the lovers of #yourdailybread back to you.
You can also think of #hashtags as confetti. Everyone's having their own party, but at any moment you can instantly organize the world's confetti to find like minded individuals. Pretty sweet.
Use #keywords to be discovered. For example, I often use #socialmedia versus #CreativeSocialMedia to get discovered by new audiences. Keywords should be broad, yet specific—such as #dance or even #ballet.
If you're hosting or participating in an event—join the #SpecificConversation. Hashtags are great for weddings, award shows and other events. It curates an archive of all the tagged posts and gives everyone access. The problem is teaching everyone to use the hashtag. Big events like #TheOscars and #TheTonyAwards do this well by frequently reminding the audience of the hashtag.
What group, event or person in your life needs a hashtag? When creating one—be super specific. If you need differentiation, use capitalization. Do not use spaces or punctuation. If you must, use an underscore—but try getting Grandma to find and use that! The pound sign is confusing enough!
Relevancy is huge on the internet. When billions of people are trying to be seen and heard, you have to play the game.
Take a look at the trending topics (things that EVERYONE is talking about) and join the conversation.
Want to go 2.0? Click on the hashtag and start TALKING to people. Social media isn't a one-way street!
I totally get using hashtags for fun, subtext, irony, humor, etc. However, #sometimes #it #is #too #much.
Use the hashtag with discretion...
The best way to use the hashtag is with intention—when you want to join #Trends, #Events or get discovered through #Keywords.
Here are a few "trends" to participate in.
- #MCM (Man Crush Monday)
- #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday)
- #TBT (Throwback Thursday)
- #FF (Follow Friday)
- #SIP (Saturday Intermission Photo... for you Broadway peeps.)
Using hashtags? The second best way to use a hashtag is to engage! Join the conversation!
What's your favorite hashtag? Comment below!
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.